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The Mark of the Christian (IVP Classics) Paperback – December 28, 2006
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Features & Benefits
*A new edition of an IVP classic *Presents love as the ultimate apologetic for the faith *Describes what a true Christian witness looks like in our needy and broken world
About the Author
Francis A. Schaeffer founded the L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and was the author of many books, including The God Who Is There. Until his death in 1984, he was also a noted speaker with a worldwide ministry. His ministry continues through his books, with over two million copies in print.
James W. Sire (PhD, University of Missouri), formerly a senior editor at InterVarsity Press, is an active speaker and writer. He has taught English, philosophy, theology, and short courses at many universities and seminaries. He continues to be a frequent guest lecturer in the United States and Europe. His InterVarsity Press books and Bible studies include The Universe Next Door (a worldviews textbook), Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.
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Top Customer Reviews
Author: Francis Schaeffer
Topic: Theology of Christianity
Scope: Biblical passages and exposition of Jesus' statement that Christians must "Love One Another."
Purpose: To explain to Christians what it looks like to love one another and why it matters so much.
Outline: The book(let) is one long chapter of 59 pages. It could take less than an hour to read. There are 19 separate headings. In addition there is a poem called Lament by Evangeline Paterson at the end.
What it does well: Schaeffer is one of the father's of the modern evangelical apologetics movement. As such this book is a good primer on some of his thought. It shows that Schaeffer was very much concerned with the behavior of the Christian, not just the doctrine of the Christian. Lastly, Schaeffer does a great job of calling for unity between all true Christians.
What it lacks: This book is not meant to be an apologetic book in the sense of logical arguments for the faith. Those who are familiar with some of Schaeffer's other work will find this to be a different sort of work than they are used to reading.
Some quick highlights: "All men are our neighbors, and we are to love them as ourselves. We are to do this on the basis of creation, even if they are not redeemed, for all men have value because they are made in the image of God. Therefore they are to be loved even at great cost"-16
"All men derive from one origin. By creation all men bear the image of God. In this sense all men are of one flesh, one blood"-18
"We must include everyone who stands in the historic-biblical faith whether or not he is a member of our own party or our own group."-20
"What is the final apologetic? 'That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.'"-26
"Anything that an individual Christian or Christian group does that fails to show the simultaneous balance of the holiness of God and the love of God presents to a watching world not a demonstration of the God who exists but a caricature of the God who exists."-36
"And the world is called on to look upon and see whether we have love across the groups, love across the party lines. Do they observe that we say, 'I'm sorry,' and do they observe a forgiving heart? Let me repeat: Our love will not be perfect, but it must be substantial enough for the world to be able to observe or it does not fit into the structure of the verses in John 13 and 17. And if the world does not observe this among true Christians, the world has right to make the two awful judgments which these verse indicate: That we are not Christians and that Christ was not sent by the Father."-42-43
"Love--and the unity it attests to--is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father."-59
Recommendation?: This is good medicine for today's Christian. Much of Christianity has fallen into tribalism and infighting. Schaeffer's call to love one another is much needed. It is short and easy to read, but it is not easy on the heart.
This was a very convicting work for me. It's too easy to live life in thinking that "love" is just as well as getting along with other people. Schaeffer gets to the point that loving our neighbors is more than we are capable of - something that only Christ can bring alive through the muck of our souls.
Schaeffer was very aware of the human condition. He doesn't set up unrealistic expectations before us. He has taken truth and set it before us to say, "This is what the Lord has said, how do you measure?" This is a very stern work for such a grace-centered man. I would recommend reading True Spirituality in addition to Mark of a Christian in understanding that our lives in Christ are much less centered upon what we do and don't do and so much more imperative upon the object of our faith. Therein, He bears fruit through trees that should be tossed into eternal flame.
It should also be pointed out that Schaeffer does not argue for a Love which accomodates on issues of Holiness. We must both balace the Love of God and the Holiness of God. We must rely on the Spirit to empower us to maintain this balance. But, we need to realize that a failure to demonstrate either side shows the world a diminished God.